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City, VFW agree to possession order; final property value yet to be determined


The Harry B. Stokes Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4501 will soon have a new home, but the final question of how much its current property is worth has yet to be answered.

According to a Monday afternoon filing, Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer approved an “Agreed Order of Possession” signed by Batesville City Attorney Timothy Meitzen and the VFW’s attorney, Blair Arnold.

The order states that the VFW will purchase and remodel another property for its facility and will remain at its current location on Chaney Drive without rent until Oct. 15, 2024, or by the time its new location is ready, whichever occurs first. The city will have possession of the property once the VFW moves.

According to the order, both parties have agreed upon the $610,000 sum that the city has deposited into the circuit court registry for the property’s condemnation.

However, Meyer’s order said the property’s final value, which has been the subject of contention, will be determined by a jury trial or a party settlement.

With the new order, the VFW can request access to the $610,000 for funds to acquire a new facility and pay for any possible remodeling.

The $610,000 amount is based on an April 2, 2024, appraisal of the property prepared by RGB Appraisals of Cabot for the city attorney. In response to the city’s original possession order, a May 13, 2024, appraisal by MAC Valuation Company in Little Rock valued the property at $1,133,000.

The Chaney Drive property has been designated for the city’s new Riverside Park upgrade as part of the Building a Better Batesville initiative. In August 2023, Batesville voters approved the extension of a half-cent sales tax for the expansion and improvement of the park.

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